Souk el Tayeb (good market in Arabic) is a farmers market in the heart of Beirut. Brave foodie and social innovator, Kamal Mouzawak opened Lebanon's first farmers market in the wake of the 2006 war, helping the country recover by sharing local food.
Souk el Tayeb is more than just a place to buy locally grown and prepared foods in Beirut. In a country divided by decades of wars, it is a way of reclaiming the heart of the city as a neutral gathering ground for people from all villages, religions, and generations to participate in one of the country's greatest renewable resource: FOOD! To celebrate this rich culinary history and the resiliency of its farming communities is the basis of Souk el Tayeb's mission. At
Tawlet, the market's restaurant, a different guest cook prepares a family-style lunch to share the unique traditions of her village with hungry Beirutis.
Beyond bringing people together, Souk el Tayeb offers a sustainable, social business model in these ways:
1. Increasing the market for local producers through the weekly downtown market, its restaurant and by packaging their products for sale at local supermarkets.
2. Creating collaborations across religion, region, politics, and disciplines in the name of selling, making and celebrating high-quality, local foods.
3. Opening up opportunities for women to share their culinary knowledge and heritage by guest-chefing at the restaurant, giving cooking classes, and participating in food festivals and other events organized throughout the year.
Through a program I started via the Parsons School of Design called
CITY AS LAB
, three of my students worked with Kamal and his team to build their educational programs, create a design proposal for a new eco-market, and develop a
for the restaurant. Souk el Tayeb is committed to continuously improving and innovating on its business model to better contribute to healing the country and opening up economic opportunities for its community of farmers and makers.